Every wedding anniversary is cause for celebration, but a couple's golden wedding anniversary calls for something extra special. The golden anniversary definition is that the couple is celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. A couple that reaches this landmark traditionally exchanges gifts made of gold, and their loved ones can mark the occasion by doing the same.
Golden Wedding Anniversary Meaning
If you've ever celebrated a first wedding anniversary, you and your spouse may have exchanged love letters, books or tickets for an event – all things that are made of paper, the traditional first anniversary gift. Today, all the landmark anniversaries have a corresponding gift category, but the history of the golden and silver anniversaries go back further than any of the others.
Researchers believe the concept of assigning different gifts to each wedding anniversary dates back to ancient Rome and/or medieval Germany. By the 18th century, it was common for German women to receive silver wreaths after being married for 25 years and gold wreaths after 50 years. This custom of marking the 25th and 50th anniversaries with silver and gold began gaining popularity in English-speaking countries during the mid-1800s. The rise of this trend corresponded with the rise in love matches, in which couples married because they were in love rather than because their families deemed them an appropriate match.
By the early 1900s, a comprehensive list of anniversary gifts had been created, and it's what we still use today. Paper is for the first anniversary, wood is for the fifth, tin or aluminum is for the 10th and so on.
Celebrating a Golden Wedding Anniversary
A 50th wedding anniversary is a big deal, and it calls for a big celebration. One special way for an American couple to mark the occasion is to request a presidential greeting from the White House. These are generally only available to couples celebrating their 50th, 60th or 70th anniversaries. Contact the U.S. representative or senator who serves the couple's district to make the request and do so at least a few weeks before the big day. Sometimes, these representatives have a presidential greeting request form on their websites under a heading like "constituent services," but you can also try sending an email request.
Giving Golden Anniversary Gifts
The golden anniversary warrants a special gift. The couple may want to exchange meaningful or sentimental gold gifts. For example, a husband might buy his wife a gold necklace, and she might buy him a gold watch. (Of course, if you're giving a gift to your spouse of 50 years, you may prefer to exchange gifts that have more personal value, like a weekend trip to a hotel that you both love.)
When you're giving a 50th wedding anniversary gift to a couple in your life, think of gold as more of a broad theme and less as a literal requirement. People who have been married for 50 years generally have all the "stuff" they could want, so think about gifts that are either experiences or that are very personal to the couple. That might mean giving them a nice bottle of wine from a vineyard with "gold" in its name or ordering a golden family tree statue that's customized with all the names of the couple's descendants.
If you can't come up with something creative and unique, a simple gold picture frame is always a lovely 50th anniversary gift. Put a photo of the couple or their family inside. If you know of a poem or reading that was given at the couple's wedding, you could also have it printed in gold script and then put it in the frame. Pair this gift with chocolates flecked with edible gold leaf or some other edible golden treat.